Cold in the Castle.

Move over, Lickety. I have to blog today.

Doesn’t this castle look delicious?

So, yeah, this is the castle that I made this week. But this is the castle that I wanted to make exploding, or otherwise rising fully-formed from the pages of a book like that goddess chap, Venus, rising from the sea. So my first order of business was to do this:

I made a box. For those of you Dear Readers who are sticklers for accuracy, it’s 8 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 2 inches deep.

Then I turn the box over . . .

. . . and cover it with, you know, pages of text (for camouflage):

You probably can’t tell that I made the cover with fancy corners (it’s a trapezoid). . .

. . . because this box has to squeeze tightly into sharp corners, which I will show you in the next photo. So now I know how to make a trapezoid box, another skill that is worth absolutely nothing in the real, non-castle world.

Here’s how the base fits into its exploding book:

And now, with as few words as possible, here’s how I built my exploded castle:

Side view:

And the arial view from 5 feet, 6 inches:

Those of you Dear Readers who are keeping count know that this is my 5th castle. I have immediate plans to make at least two more — one with Alexandra’s moat, and another one that reeks of Winter Holidays because I will have these castles on display this coming December at my local library. That’s the William Cullen Bryant Library in Roslyn, on the north shore of Long Island, if you want to stop by.

It’s a good thing that I finished this castle the day before I caught my cold because since then all I’ve wanted to do is lie in bed and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. I haven’t tuned into this show since Izzy’s boyfriend, Denny, died in Season 2 (in 2006). I didn’t stop watching it for any particular reason; I just got busy with life, I guess.

So it’s amazing to me how good the show is, and I’m only on Season 12. I really like the way Meredith, the main character, has evolved. She’s pretty dark, and now she’s (spoiler alert) a widow and the story is still surprisingly interesting.

One of my favorite moments came in Season 11, when Meredith’s husband, Derek, invites some co-workers to the house for a dinner party. Meredith, who is a loner, is annoyed and asks him “Why did you do that?

Derek says, “Because that’s what people do.”

And Meredith, exasperated, demands: “What people?”

That is such a realistic conversation, at least here in Top Cat Mansion, where my husband always wants to invite people over for a BBQ or some other get-together and I would rather not have to clean the house for company.

And, just as my cold was doing is wretched best to make me feel like an old gray mare, Aretha Franklin dies and Madonna turns 60. I haven’t kept up with Madonna since her Ray of Light album 20 years ago, and I know that I should applaud her for hanging in there, trying to stay relevant and sexy at her age, but. Not that I want to internalize the ageism of our society especially as it demeans females, but I wish she would just go away now.

And Aretha, sublime Aretha. . . you can google her song Gotta Find Me an Angel on you tube,and get out your hankies.  It’s my favorite Aretha song, even though there are a few questionable lines (“Keep looking’, and just keep cooking”). Oh, hell. Aretha could sing the list of ingredients on a box of Post Toasties and she’ll break your heart. Nobody comes close to her today. Nobody.

Speaking of things that people under the age of 30 will never understand, we got a dictionary donated at the used book store last week.

Nobody buys dictionaries these days so we at the book store usually toss them, but since I got on this Book Art jag I’m on, I am dying to do something with this 1973 Random House College Dictionary. Can’t you see horses, or a dragon, or a warrior princess climbing up those tabs?

The most important thing, though, when you’re doing dictionary art, is to choose a page that has interesting words on it, and it has to be from the first half of the alphabet. Any suggestions?

I am fading fast, Dear Readers. It’s going to be another hot and heavy day here on the North Shore of Long Island (85 degrees, 82% humidity) and I plan to do as little as possible, except feed my cold plenty of pizza  and watch bad things happen to good people on Grey’s Anatomy, Season 13.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Take a cue from Lickety (above), and find a cool spot with a sunbeam and dream sweet dreams.


25 Comments, RSS

  1. Monique August 17, 2018 @ 9:17 am

    Your castles♥Quite amazing Vivian!

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:51 pm

      Merci mucho beaucoup, Monique.

  2. Alex August 17, 2018 @ 10:12 am

    I’m so sorry you are under the weather (in more ways than one), and hope things clear up soon all round.

    Your latest castle is utterly stunning! Wish l lived closer so I could come see the upcoming library display – how fabulous!

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 10:25 am

      I just got my copy of Alan Lee’s Castles. Wow. It’s more than I expected, and so interesting. I will dive into it with my second cup of tea today.

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:50 pm

      I just finished my 7th castle. Funny, English doesn’t seem to have a word for a collection of castles.

      Like a Murder of crows, a Flock of seagulls, etc.

      A Surround of castles? A Brim of castles? A Reverberation of castles?

  3. Casey August 17, 2018 @ 10:19 am

    I know you’re a great watercolor artist but I think your calling is castle making. You’ve come so far from your first castle to this. THIS. I think you have achieved your Queendom of Castle Making. I want to see pictures from your exhibit. You should charge admission and make a pile of money for the library.

    Ah, yes, Aretha. No one can take away her early years at Atlantic records, her prime. I don’t approve of wearing fur and in her later years the Queen of Soul wore a lot of it. But she’s from a different era. We will not see the likes of er again. And Madonna. Yes, I understand. She is a bit desperate these days to stay relevant (as the kids say). She has more money than she can ever spend in her lifetime, why doesn’t she spend the rest of her days building schools in Africa?

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:48 pm

      I like to think that I might have a calling. So far, I know for sure that my calling is to not wear fur, and to not eat animals except for Thanksgiving turkey.

  4. Steve August 17, 2018 @ 12:55 pm

    That last picture of Lickety is HILARIOUS! That is a seriously hot cat.

    The castle turned out amazingly well! (Not that it’s amazing it turned out well — that’s not what I mean. I mean it’s amazing!) It’s great you’re going to put your works on display. Will you share with us photos of them when they’re on view at the library? I can’t be there but I want to pretend I am.

    I enjoy Madonna’s singles, but I think “Ray of Light” and “The Immaculate Collection” are the only albums of hers I’ve ever bought. I’m not a superfan, in other words. But still, I do admire her ability to adapt and stay relevant for so long. When she first appeared on the scene, I never imagined we’d still be paying attention to her 35 years later!

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:47 pm

      Thanks, Steve! Of course I will post photos of the display. I started this project just as a way to promote people to buy our crappiest books as art supplies, but now I’m obsessed with turrets and towers. next up: a bridge.

      OMG, when Madonna first came along, I couldn’t picture talking about ME in 35 years. Where, O Where, did those years go???

  5. Leslie August 17, 2018 @ 5:45 pm

    Your new castle is a beauty. Your engineering skills have evolved. I couldn’t help thinking how great that castle would look on you, not balanced precariously, but like a hat, with the top of your head in it. As for the dictionary, I suggest you use the dictionary at moat, as it is in the middle. Maybe you could create a moat, cutting a channel around the base of the castle. This would suggest adding a drawbridge as well as horses and riders, leviathan in the moat, etc. Castles for Christmas…the perfect gift. Well done!

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:45 pm

      YES! I want to make a castle hat!!! Moats are hard — to cut it around the castle in the middle, you have to fist cut that inner circle, which leaves the whole rest of the page as trash. You can’t really cut a channel into a book unless you laminate it first, I guess, and saw it like a piece of wood. Yikes. I’d need electric power tools for that.

      And I like the idea of opening the dictionary at “moat”. I will have to see if I can devise some sort of imaginary water barrier, but it’s not going to be easy. It might be impossible.

  6. Megan August 17, 2018 @ 7:10 pm

    Oh dear I am so sorry you are unwell. I feel a cold in summer is so much worse than in winter, I do feel for you and hope you recover soon. Are the cats sending you lots of energy and good vibes? My cat Mr Jolly used to stay with me in bed if I was sick he was channeling his inner medicine cat. I love your castle emerging from that book, brilliant! I love the darker print on the turrets and I must admit to being very taken with those adorable flags, they are the finishing touch I think. I have to agree with Casey and Lesley I think you have certainly found a calling in your castle building, long may it last and evolve. Lickety looks like he’s (he/she apologies) melted but really he is storing all the energy of the sun for release in winter. You have to love cats I keep expecting mine to burst into flames he is either sunning himself not he black enamel barbecue or infant of the combustion heater, how hot so they like things? One creature who is ready for global warming indeed. Get well soon.

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:42 pm

      I love that name, Mr. Jolly. He was a big orange tabby, right? We are experiencing a minor heat wave here, so it’s 95 degrees in the shade and the cats are all splayed out on the cool tiles of our three bathrooms. Except for Taffy. He’s melted onto the bricks of the patio. And Candy has found that the shower stall in my bathroom is the cool part of the house. I wish I could fit in beside her.

  7. Kirra August 18, 2018 @ 7:05 am

    This castle is AMAZING!!! Congratulations! Sorry you have a cold in summer, I’ve been sick to but it’s winter here. Lickety is my current role model – laze in the sunshine! Enjoy your pizza and tv and get well soon.

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:40 pm

      Pizza is my cure-all. Pizza and champagne. As we toast and gorge on the last day of August (which is, spiritually, the last day of Summer) I hope you get to celebrate the last day of Winter. Yay!

  8. jeanie August 18, 2018 @ 8:50 am

    Bummer about the cold. Sick in the summer is the worst. But there IS much to be said for guilt-free binging!

    I’m wild about the new castle — Looks like magic popping out of the book. Much better than a pop-up book. I made one of those for Rick once. It nearly killed me. I didn’t have the patience for the engineering but you sure seem to. Can’t wait to see the next one. I have a vision of castles all over your house till it’s time for the big December show. I want to go to YOUR library.

    OK, so I get why you’d pick a page with meaningful words from the dictionary — but why from the front? Aren’t meaningful words throughout? Will the volume fall apart? Personal pref? Do tell.

    And give sweet Lickety a pet from me! Get well soon!

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:39 pm

      The thing about picking a good word from the first half of the dictionary is because I need to have “steps” from the thumb-tabs rising on the side of the book, and if I used the second half of the dictionary I would have thumb tabs gong the wrong way (up-side-down). But I suspect that all the goods words come after M”.

  9. Becky August 18, 2018 @ 8:24 pm

    This is my favorite castle that you have built. The intricate work on it is amazing.
    So sorry that you aren’t feeling well. It is the perfect excuse to spoil yourself.
    That last picture of Lickety made me laugh. It amazes the contortions animals can get into and comfortably fall asleep……sign of such contentment.

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:38 pm

      Lately Lickety as been napping on the kitchen table but I can’t take a picture of him because then you would see that our kitchen table is where all the loose odds and ends of life find a resting place. I am not in the mood to excavate the table yet, and Lickety seems perfectly happy to hunker down on top of shoes, electric cords, notebooks, and the Himalayan Rock Salt lamp.

  10. Marilyn August 19, 2018 @ 11:26 pm

    Your castles are just plain amazing! I love them all. Your humor delights me. Yes, Madonna can go away, but sad the Aretha did just that. Hope your cold is getting better by now.

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:36 pm

      Now that my cold is gone I feel a thousand years younger! Ah, Aretha…at least we still ave her music. What a soul.

  11. Christine August 20, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

    Huzzah for the castles! Hugs for the cats! Boo for the cold:(

    The castles are amazing! Can you auction them off at the library after the holiday display? The last one is Above and Beyond…especially with unfurling flags (as opposed to a stagnant pennant type flag). Way cool:)

    So creative…I love how you continue to astonish! Thank you for sharing!

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:35 pm

      Well, you make me blush Christine. I’m just a simple minded girl who loves to glue paper together and I’m lucky that the paper wants to be a castle.

  12. Patricia August 24, 2018 @ 10:41 am

    I love the castle exploding from a book. Now hard to pick one over another, but this is possibly your best to date! I’m reserving the right to change my mind when I see the moated castle… Can the castles be sprayed with poly to preserve them?

    Actually it’s kind of annoying how talented you are. Or an admission of how lazy and uninventive and clumsy I am that I don’t do something equally charming and skillful. Oh well, I audience very well and every artist needs an audience.

    • Vivian August 29, 2018 @ 1:33 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. I appreciate your audience (“audience” in the verb form looks exactly like “audience” in the noun form). Moats are hard — you’re making a donut in negative space, so you ave to cut the donut hole as a stack of free-standing paper, if you can see what I mean. Even if you cut a quarter of the moat, you still ave the problem of what to do with the bits that are set free? I’m re-thinking the moat carefully and one day I hope I’m good enough to dig it out of a book.

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